The FSA's satfat awareness campaign is a "waste of time" according to a leading nutritionist.

Former head of Bradford University Food Policy Unit Dr Verner Wheelock cited a recent New Zealand study that he says proves healthy-eating education programmes are ineffective in changing shopping patterns and the key to encouraging a better diet is cheaper prices.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study shows that when shoppers were offered price incentives, 11% bought significantly more healthy food in a six-month trial. An equivalent group who received education on diet bought almost no extra healthy food.

"This demonstrates the FSA claim to base its strategy on sound evidence does not stand up," said Dr Wheelock.

"Very few people actually understand nutrients and I've always advocated the emphasis should focus on foods when promoting healthy eating."

The FSA said Dr Wheelock's comments were "wide of the mark:" and it was too early to judge the satfat campaign's success.